Has the NVL finally caught up to Sacred Heart?
Sacred Heart has won the last five Naugatuck Valley League championships, starting with the Mustapha Heron era through Raheem Solomon and than Nate Tabor and Jamaal Waters. Now, its Lorenzo Washington and Connor Tierney who lead the way to try to make it six straight. But the gap has closed with Crosby, Naugatuck and maybe others being in contention for the title.
Windsor finished as the second-best team in the Register/GameTimeCT Top 10 poll last year. The starting backcourt, Corey McKeithan and Amir Spears, returns as the state’s best. The Warriors also add Justice Ellison, a 6-foot-4 transfer from South Windsor. Windsor will miss guard Jordan Riley and center Lawrence Foreman. Depth could be an issue, but unless you can stop McKeithan and Spears, it’s not going to matter.
The 700 club
There is only one CIAC coach with over 700 career victories. That man is Vito Montelli. The former longtime St. Joseph coach finished with 878 victories. Crosby’s Nick Augelli enters year No. 41 piloting the Bulldogs’ program. He needs just 10 wins to reach 700. The Bulldogs play Sacred Heart twice in January, so it is possible the second game could be the one where Augelli gets it. Also, Ken Smith at Windsor is seven short of 600 career wins, which he will achieve in January.
Who will emerge from the balanced SCC?
Your guess is as good as mine. Notre Dame-West Haven did last year, but faltered down the stretch, then fell to Wilbur Cross in the tournament final. Notre Dame should be a factor again. Hamden has enough players back to contend. Hillhouse will be back in contention after a 13-11 mark a season ago. West Haven could be in the mix as well.
Can Waterford do it again?
The Lancers lost guard Mikey Buscetto after winning the Division III state championship in 2018. They moved up to Division II last year and proceeded to go 27-1, winning the title behind guards Kenny Hill and Jay Jay Brennan. The Lancers remain in Division II this year, but lost both Hill and Brennan, as well as Payton Sutman, who is likely out for the season after suffering an injury late in the football season. Still, Waterford remains one of the ECC favorites and will be a tough out in Division II.